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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

We are so excited that our 6th Annual Adopt-A-Rama is this coming Saturday!  This event has grown so much over the years and we will now have 24 rescues and shelters on hand along with a dozen vendors and local businesses to educate you on products and services for your pets.

Last week we told you why owning multiple pets is actually good for you!  Today I want to give you a short checklist of how to go about introducing new pets into your home.

1. Consider the personalities of your existing pets, look for a new addition with specific traits.  Adopting an older pet has a big advantage – most older pets have already been exposed to other species in their past, which can really streamline the socialization process.

3abede6d6e2ae0f0ecb262c932190bd22. If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead.  And, a cat who constantly growls and bats, or hides from dogs would probably prefer the company of another cat.

3. If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or shy new addition.  This can actually sometimes trigger a dog to chase.

4. Ignore the old wives tale – Bringing a highly energetic, rough-playing pet home could bring “new life” to your existing elderly pet companion.  This pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend.  Look for an upbeat, but calmer new addition.  The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.

5. Pick a neutral location to introduce your existing pet and the prospective new pet.  Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”

6. After bringing your new furry friend home, periodically rotate which pet has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days.  This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.

7. Never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised.  This should be managed very gradually over about 3-6 weeks.

8. In the case of dogs and cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces.  Try adding a few high-up perching features (shelves or pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.

9. Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

Stop by any Two Bostons store and ask for some firsthand advice on creating a happy, healthy homecoming for your new pet!  We look forward to seeing you and your well-behaved four-legged family members this weekend.

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Amber Walker from Animal Intuitions, LLC here to teach you about what an automatic and replacement behavior is.

 

 

The first behavior almost every dog learns is SIT!  Since it is learned at the beginning, it means it is the most practiced behavior in a dogs life skills.  And D88E87CC11since it is the most practiced behavior, it usually means a dog will offer this behavior without anyone asking him to.  Even though your dog knows the cue “SIT,” she will do this behavior by reading the environment instead of waiting for the “sit” cue.  And that’s great!

Beyond sit, your dog can learn to do all sorts of behaviors based on the environment in addition to the cue you may have given her.  Sometimes, dogs have undesirable behaviors based on environmental cues such as barking when the doorbell rings, darting for an item when it is dropped on the floor or jumping on guests when they walk in the door.  To a dog, their behaviors make perfect sense!  To the humans, it’s rotten.

Your dog can learn to go to a mat when the doorbell rings.  Your dog can learn to wait when something is dropped on the floor.  And I promise, your dog can learn NOT to jump on guests, if they learn how to properly meet guests like with a nose-to-fist touch!

Your dog needs to be taught a replacement behavior.

If my dog does A, my dog cannot do B.  Once a replacement behavior is taught (and practiced a lot!), it can become an automatic behavior you don’t even have to ask your dog to do!  Wouldn’t it be nice (and impressive) to see your dog sit politely on a mat while you open the door and let a guest inside and then touch their nose to the guest’s fist like a doggie handshake??

Watch this video of my dog Hadley waiting outside the kitchen during snack prep for my toddler.  It has a cue called “Out” so I can ask for it anytime I want but even better…it’s an automatic behavior!  The act of me being in the kitchen is an environmental cue for Hadley to wait on the carpet.

A dog may not do any behaviors automatically if it is not taught to them first.  And you can’t wait for the situation in need of the automatic behavior to begin practicing.  That training plan will fail every time.

Have fun being creative with your dog’s future automatic behavior’s!

We all know it is important to start training right away when we bring a new puppy or adult dog home.  Most of the time we start training the basics like sit, stay and come, but did you know that you should also be training them to go their groomer? No dog owner wants their dog to become fearful of the groomer, and that could very easily happen if you don’t practice and train them to go to the groomer.  Kendra, owner of the UpScale Tail Pet Grooming Salon gave us some great ways to get our dogs groom ready!

10985364_322579197952065_1191382364901231543_n “From sit and stay to practice with grooming techniques it is imperative to make it an all around positive training experience for them because they will have to endure this for the rest of their lives.  Find out what their favorite treat or toy is and only associate it with training and grooming practice times.  Make sure that when you are training them they are hungry; so do not feed them before training.  Dogs are more willing to please you and will pick up the lessons you are teaching them faster if you train them when they are hungry or eager to have their favorite toy.

Where do I practice grooming training you ask?  If you have a small dog, put a towel on top of your washer or dryer and practice grooming them up there.  If you have a large or medium breed dog, put their leash and collar on and close it in the door, this way they cannot leave when you are grooming them.  Another trick is to put peanut butter on the refrigerator door so they can lick it off when you are getting them used to grooming techniques.

Regardless of what type of training you are doing, get them used to being handled.  Put your fingers in and around their ear canals; play with their feet and toenails while sitting on the floor; turn on an electric razor or toothbrush and get them used to the noise.  Reward them with a treat or toy for good behavior.  If they seem to get upset about anything you are doing, do not stop, hold your ground and get them used to the sensations.  If you give in and stop, then they will win and be the boss of you.  If they resist what you are doing have someone stand there with you and feed them treats or play with the toy while you train them. Your pet stylist should be communicating with you if there is an issue that might arise during grooming.  It is very important to listen to your pet stylist and take their advice, doing this will only make grooming a better experience for your pet.  For your pets’ to overcome their fears about grooming and/or life in general, it is important work together as a team and not rely on your trainer or pet stylist to fix the issue.”

 

logo-refined-PenTool-webAddress For more information about Kendra and The UpScale Tail Pet Grooming Salon you can visit their website at www.theupscaletail.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheUpscaleTail.

 

 

Amber Walker

Amber Walker, owner and lead trainer at Animal Intuitions, Inc. provided us with some great insight on prong collars and why you will not see them in any Two Bostons stores.

 

Walking is one of the greatest activities an owner and dog can do.  It builds a great bond and is a good work out.  It can deplete a dogs’ energy lessening unwanted behaviors that a bored dog does like chewing, barking, and digging.  And walking is just plain fun!

Sometimes, we find ourselves not going on walks because our dog pulls, lunges, barks at other dogs, zig zags, and makes the walk horrible.  How can we change all that?  A change of walking tool is sometimes all it takes!

 

Animal Intuitions or Two Bostons will never recommend the use of prong, pinch, or chain collars and but most important, we want you to understand why.

First, prong collars work. We are not denying that fact.  Function is not the matter of why we don’t like them.  There are three main components as to why we won’t use them, sell them or prongcollarrecommend them: 1. Your dog’s anatomy, 2. their use as a training tool, and 3. the inconsistency with their use.

1. Dog’s Anatomy

Your dog’s neck is actually very delicate and includes the vertical vertebrae, trachea, jugular vein, tonsils, epiglottis, larynx, esophagus, nerves and veins.

Repeated stress (mild to severe) to this area will not only cause pain and problems to the immediate areas being touched but also can lead to neck, back and even eye problems and injuries.  Optical nerves in the neck can cause blindness.

Our dogs appear to not be especially sensitive so we are more likely to use greater and greater force.  By the time evidence of permanent damage is identified, it is too late.

2. A Training Tool

It is especially important to Animal Intuitions, that your dog learns how to walk because we are teaching them to make that decision through positive reinforcement i.e. PAIN FREE.  No human or animal can learn when he or she is in pain.

Our goal is teaching the dog to control himself and the owner won’t need to physically control the dog.

As with any tool, there is a right and wrong way to use them.  More often than not, these collars are used incorrectly.  And even if they are used ‘correctly,’ you still won’t see us using them.

To use positive punishment (adding something [pinch collar] to decrease a behavior [leash pulling]) it must be administered at the correct time.  Timing is important in clicker training too.  Wrong timing in clicker training means your dog gets a free treat.  Wrong timing in a pinch collar ‘pop’ means a lot of confusion for your dog, including the possible association with what the dog sees (dog, child, car, bike, etc.) at the time of a leash pop leading to fear and aggression, “That thing made me hurt and now I will be [insert dog emotion].” It must also be done with enough force to stop the behavior.  OUCH!

3. The Inconsistency

The use of the prong and/or pinch collar is not consistent.  It varies from person to person and from situation to situation.  Take the following for example:

  • The dog pulls and the owner follows (or is dragged) and the dog is positively reinforced for what it wants to do/where it wants to go because the dog still gets to move forward.
  • Sometimes pulling is corrected with a jerk other times it is not.
  • Collars are fitted incorrectly so the dog never gets relief even on a slack leash.

In the end, your dog has been habituated to the constant pressure and it no longer means anything.

It’s possible that the dog may develop a punishment callus.  This causes the owner to escalate the level of correction while the dog is reinforced by pulling to get to whatever he wants and it outweighs the punishment of the pain.

So what do we recommend?  We do want you to use a tool that will be helpful to you and your dog.  There are certainly a variety of options that work for some and not for others.  We highly recommend the Sporn Harness.  You can get this at Two Bostons.

 

Positive Reinforcement is very important to Animal Intuitions’ training team and we want our clients to understand why we are so passionate about it.  AI has trained over 100 zoo and pet animal species with the same training techniques, methods, and science…every time! We can’t wait to show you our successful methods with all your dogs and dogs to come.

For more information on Amber and Animal Intuitions, Inc. visit them at www.aitrainers.com.

 

Amber Walker is the lead trainer of Animal Intuitions LLC, aitrainers.com.

Amber Walker is the lead trainer of Animal Intuitions LLC, aitrainers.com.

If you are a new dog owner, or are just having a “ruff” time with your current pet’s behavior, you may be considering working with a professional dog trainer. But how do you find the right trainer for your dog?

You can do an online search for “Dog Trainer” and the city in which you live, but that could yield thousands of results!  And if you open the links from such a search, it can be confusing to determine what everything means or what you really want to accomplish from the process.

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There are many different philosophies of dog training. So even if you’ve had previous experience with training dogs, it’s a good idea to have some specific questions prepared for when you begin interviewing new potential trainers. This can help ensure that you agree with your trainer’s methods of teaching so that you and your dog can achieve the most success.

Here are some potential questions that might be helpful:

  • What will happen to my dog when she gets it right? Your dog should receive a reward based on what she finds reinforcing, not what you or the trainer find reinforcing. Trainers should observe your dog to ensure she likes the reward and stop using it if she does not.

 

  • What will happen to my dog when he gets it wrong? It means trainer or owner did not set him up for success and the plan, or reward, must be re-evaluated.  The dog should never be punished for doing an unwanted behavior.

 

  •  What other alternatives are out there? Maybe the trainer discontinued using a different method in the past or has been trained on new methods but hasn’t had much success yet with them.

 

  • What tools could be used while training my dog? Common tools that have been successful include treats, affection, environment, clickers, harnesses and leashes. Make sure you are comfortable with all the tools.

 

  • What tools will you not use? Punishment tools, such as shock collars, jerking, yelling or squirt bottles can be aversive to many dogs.

dogtrainingEven if you already have a trainer, you always can ask these questions to make sure you are getting the best success from your experience!

Two Bostons offers a variety of products that can assist you with training your dog. For example, we offer the Training Clicker by Premier, the Onkey Shake Trainer and various styles of Poochie Bells, which you can train your dog to use when they need you to take them the bathroom.premier-training-clicker

onkey_shake_trainerFor more tips on dog training, see some of Two Bostons’ past blog posts on the topic, or stop in one our stores and ask one of our highly knowledgeable associates for additional suggestions and how some of the products we offer may help. You also can visit our website to learn more about the types of the training merchandise we offer.

Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any tips about interviewing a trainer that may help other dog owners? If so, please leave us a comment on this post. Two Bostons wants to hear from you!

 

 

Hi there, Amber the Trainer here. In today’s blog, we’re going to discuss brain science! Yay!
In my dog training career, I see owners with the absolute *best* intentions for their dogs doing it in the absolute *worst* way possible. They simply don’t know any better. Some things owners do actually shock me speechless but most are making simple mistakes.
I get a lot of calls from owners that have had their dogs since they were wee puppies and don’t understand why they are having problems now as adults. I ask some pretty basic questions and know instantly what went awry.
Okay so I’m going to get all brain science on you but I’ll *try* to keep it really simple. Stay with me! Please!
atlasofadogbrain
All vertebrates (anything with a backbone) have a fancy thing called myelin. In laymen’s terms, myelin forms around the neurons (Neurons=cell that processes and transmits information of everything we learn) in the brain. Myelin is the reason neurons communicate with each other (really really important to function as a human being). If myelin isn’t present or doesn’t form, neurons can’t talk, if neurons can’t talk, our brain won’t function. So we want a lot of myelin! How do we get more myelin? Learn new things! When we learn new concepts in life, new myelin forms to accommodate those new concepts, allowing the neurons to have easy communication. But here’s the catch: Myelin stops forming at puberty! Myelin actually punches out of its anatomical time clock to never punch back in again. Once myelin stops forming, we are capable of learning but it’s much harder. Have you heard that learning a foreign language as a child is easier than as an adult??? That’s because children have myelin still forming and adults do not!
Did that make sense? Okay, let’s keep going…
All of that to say, dogs myelin stops forming at 4 months old/16 weeks. 3 weeks-16 weeks a “critical socialization period” because that’s when dogs should be exposed to everything they possibly can so their myelin can form and their brain can communicate and they are happy as adults. At 4 months old, their myelin stops forming and though they are capable of learning, it’s harder and exposure to new things in life can be much more difficult to adapt to.
So where did the dog owners go awry? They didn’t get the proper exposure of “life” to their dogs while myelin was still forming before 4 months old. That’s one reason why they are having adult “problems.” Their adult dogs are having a hard time adjusting to new things such as other dogs, kids, cats, cars, etc. I am shocked at how many people tell me, “My dog won’t receive all their shots until 6 months old so they aren’t leaving the house until then.” I’m not going to lie to you, I panic a little knowing what they may face in their dog’s adult years. Their dogs are TWO months past their critical socialization-myelin forming door closing, NEVER TO BE OPENED AGAIN. Yikes!!
And here’s a plug: I have a fantastic socialization & training group puppy class at Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva to accommodate good forming myelin. Please join us!

Are you training a dog? Have you ever wondered where on earth to keep the treats you are using, so that they are within reach, but not in the way? Or, do you just like to have treats with you when you walk your pooch or go to the dog park, but don’t have a way to keep them within reach?

Then you need to check this out:

It’s the PoochPouch, and it’s great “pocket” for the treats you need while training.

It clips right onto your belt or the waist band of your pants:

so your treats are right at your finger tips. And it’s slim:

so you aren’t dealing with a large and bulky fanny pack type of treat holder.

We also love the way it opens on the top:

It’s really easy to slip your fingers in and grab a treat when you need one and it closes back up on its own as it’s made from 100% memory silicone, so your treats won’t fall out.

Plus it comes in three great colors. The green from the photos above and black or gray:

So if you are looking for a convenient way to store your treats when training or on the go, be sure to stop by Two Bostons and check out the PoochPouch.

Your pooch is a sweetie. These treats are sweet. It’s a match made in heaven!

Zuke’s Lil’ Links are a sausage snack for your friend that come in Chicken & Apple, Pork & Apple, and Rabbit & Apple varieties.

They are meat treats that contain a great punch of protein and antioxidants! They have no by-product meals, artificial colors, flavors, or added animal fat. Also, they are made in the USA and are grain-free. You can’t beat that!

The apple adds an added punch to the taste, so your pooch will drool over these little sausages!

The sausage shape is great for large and small dogs alike…

And they make an excellent training treat. They are soft enough to break, yet hold up and don’t crumble.

We love Zuke’s products, as they are a great believer in quality ingredients make quality products…they want you to nourish your dog the way nature intended. And so do we!

Stop by Two Bostons and pick up a pouch of Zuke’s Lil’ Links today. Your pooch will thank you!

 

Hey everyone!  Heather here again!  Looking for some delicious and nutritious options for your pooches to nosh on?  Look no further than our new Pro-Fusion Crunchers and Green Bean Chips by K-9 Granola Factory!  I have already started treating Lilu and Ahsoka with these two tasty treats and they are loving them!!

The Pro-Fusion Crunchers, AKA “The Crunchers with a Mission,” have only 9 ingredients, all of which along with their bags, labels and seals are all made in the USA!  They are great for weight management, containing only 16 calories per treat and have real green beans and applesauce in them.

The Green Bean Chips are exactly what the title says!  They are green beans and they are crunchy!  Also, made with minimal ingredients, Lilu and Ahsoka can snack on these multiple times a day and I don’t have to worry about any weight problems that could occur!  They are made with all natural green beans and paired up with the crunchers could be a phenomenal training treat!

These two snacks make a great addition to any dog family home so stop by the store and get your Crunchers and Green Bean Chips today!

 

Hey everyone! It’s Erica here again. I wanted to talk to you about training today. Whether you are adopting a dog or bringing home a long awaited puppy, training can seem like a daunting task.  Playing is fun, feeding is rewarding, trips to Two Bostons are a blast, but lets be honest, training is work!  Aside from great veterinary care, and proper nutrition, training is one of the most important activities you should engage in with your dog no matter the size or breed.  A well-trained dog is a happy dog.  Dogs like to have boundaries and limitations and are most happy when they know what to expect of their guardian.

Training is rewarding and fun when you set goals and do not expect too much from your dog at a time.   Teach one command at a time and do not move to quickly onto the next until the dog is getting a hang of the command.  The most effective and fun way to train a dog is using positive reinforcement.   Using positive reinforcement the dog is rewarded with a treat or clicking sound or both as soon as he exercises the command being taught.  There are seven basic commands that every dog should know, sit, stay, down, stand, come, heel and leave it.  Not only do these commands allow the dog to be a well-behaved member of society, but could actually save their life in an emergency.

One of the first things I teach a puppy is leave it.  Once they master this command, the dog should ignore anything in their path that you do not want him or her to touch or eat.  This command can take a lot of patience and persistence to master, but is one of the most important.  Most dogs learn sit, down and stand relatively easily.  Come is a command that some dogs love to respond too, while others are more stubborn.  If you have a strong willed, stubborn dog, it is very important to make this command seem very fun.  When teaching come, use a high pitched energetic voice.  You may have to bend down and hold your arms out and act excited to see the dog.  When the dog responds give them a treat, toy, petting or whatever the dog enjoys.

Stay is another command that some find challenging.  Stay is normally taught after a dog knows sit, down and stand.  The dog is then taught sit stay, down stay and stand stay.  I have found it easiest to first command the dog into a position such as sit.  Once in position I command stay and put my hand in front of the dog palm toward the dog.  If the dog gets up I put him back in a sit and repeat.  As soon as he stays in place for about three seconds I praise him and treat.

The last command that unfortunately I hardly ever see in practice is heel.  This command is of utmost importance.  Dogs should not be allowed to walk city streets or public places with human in tow; it is not safe.  The dog should be heeling at the owners left size.  Dogs generally like to pull unless taught otherwise.  While some find this command difficult it is really rather easy.  Start out with the dog at your left.  The leash handle should be folded in your right hand and your left hand should hold the leash above your dog’s body with minimal slack.  Proceed to walk and command heel.  If the dog pulls stop immediately, then turn and walk a few steps the other direction.  Turn back around and try again.  Proceed to walk and command heel.  If the dog pulls again repeat the process.  This may take a little while, but soon the dog will become tired of not being able to continue forward and give up on pulling.

Throughout the training process it is important to make the work fun and use tasty treats from Two Bostons.  Some of my recommendations are Salmon Paws

Bravo turkey, bison or hot dog bites.

If your dog likes biscuits, SoJos make a tiny biscuit that is great for training.

A new treat that has recently been added to the collection is the Sardine and Kelp Biscuit by American Natural Premium.

These great biscuits can be easily broken into 4 small pieces.  Happy Training!